Alright, ladies. Let’s air some frustrations about sleep quality. Do you have trouble feeling rested in the mornings, even when you keep a consistent bedtime routine? Many of us feel this way, and it may be because we’re not staying in the deep sleep stage long enough. People who feel chronically tired often wonder how to get more deep sleep, and the answer to that question can be life-changing.
Most of us grow up thinking sleep quantity (the amount of time spent sleeping) is the most important aspect of feeling rested and rejuvenated. This could be because medical experts agree that the average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. And for most adults, that many hours of shuteye equates to a good night’s sleep.
But what if you consistently get 7-9 hours of total sleep and still feel drowsy the next day? Your persistent drowsiness could be attributed to an imbalanced sleep cycle. If you’re not spending enough time in deep sleep (also known as slow wave sleep or delta sleep), your body isn’t able to get sufficient rest and is more likely to feel chronically tired. This illustrates that sleep quality is at least as important as sleep quantity.
If you’re wondering how to get more deep sleep, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a brief guide on slow wave sleep and how anyone can train the mind and body to get more of it each night because all of us ladies deserve to look and feel our best every morning!
Understanding What Deep Sleep Is and Its Importance
When we close our eyes at bedtime, our brain activity changes as we go through different sleep stages or cycles. Each of these stages is essential for restful sleep, but it’s important to spend the right amount of time in each stage. Too much time spent in the light sleep stage leads to poor sleep and low energy levels the next day.
Let’s take a minute to go over the various stages included in the average sleep cycle, and the primary purpose of each one. The sleep stages can be divided into two main sleep categories: non-REM sleep (or NREM sleep), and REM sleep.
NREM Sleep Stages
When you first drift off, you go immediately into stage 1 of non-REM sleep. Stages 1 and 2 of non-REM sleep are also known as light sleep. Here are some of the changes that happen in your body during the non-REM sleep stages:
Stage 1: This is when your body transitions from being awake to being asleep. It lasts several minutes and is marked by a slowing of eye movements, heart rate, and respiration. During this sleep phase, the brain waves slow down and blood pressure drops.
Stage 2: When your body enters stage 2 of non-REM sleep, your core temperature drops, brain waves continue to slow (with short bursts of increased activity), and eye movements stop. Most of us spend about 50% of the total sleep cycle in stage 2 sleep. It is possible to dream during this stage, though non-REM dreams are not as vivid as dreams that occur during REM sleep.
Stages 3 and 4: This is when the body first enters into deep sleep. During these stages of slow wave sleep, brain waves become the slowest they’ll be throughout the sleep cycle. Heart rate and breathing also slow down substantially and the muscles relax. This is when we experience the most restorative sleep. Stage 3 of slow wave sleep usually lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. It tends to become shorter with each sleep cycle you experience throughout the night.
Each period of non-REM sleep is followed by a period of REM sleep. Approximately every 90 minutes, the cycle is repeated (in people with normal sleep patterns).
Some of us have one or more sleep disorders that may prevent us from spending adequate time in one or more of the sleep stages. Often, people with poor sleep quality don’t spend enough time in deep sleep/slow wave sleep. The brain needs to get enough time in slow wave sleep or it may not function optimally the next day.
REM Sleep Stages
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep occurs after you get through the non-REM phases of your sleep cycle. It consists of the following single stage:
Stage 5: During the REM stage of sleep, breathing becomes faster and may even be irregular, the limbs may become paralyzed, and the heart rate increases until it’s almost as fast as it is when you’re awake. The eyes rapidly move from side to side and this is when vivid dreams occur.
All these stages of sleep have their unique purposes, and it’s important to spend adequate time in each one.
What Are the Benefits of Deep Sleep?
Slow wave sleep is important for our health because various brain and body processes happen during that stage. In particular, sleep-dependent memory processing, or the consolidation of new memories, occurs during this sleep stage. In addition to helping the brain remember things, deep sleep is also when the body repairs itself from damage, regenerates brain cells and other bodily cells, and strengthens the immune system. Your brain and body need adequate slow wave sleep to feel energetic, healthy, and awake during the day.
How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting Deep Sleep?
The average adult only needs to spend approximately 1.5-1.8 hours in deep sleep. But if you have sleep apnea, disrupted circadian rhythms, or any other sleep disorder, it can be hard to get that much slow wave sleep.
If you’re on a quest to develop better sleep habits for optimal brain function and health, we have some tips for getting more deep sleep every night. They include:
Give yourself enough total sleep time every night (at least 7 hours). Sleep deprivation will not only reduce your time in slow wave sleep, but will likely shorten your time in REM sleep as well.
Exercise early in the day rather than late at night.
Keep the same sleep schedule so your body can establish a consistent circadian rhythm.
Stay away from electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime (to avoid exposure to stimulating blue light).
Don’t consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
Prepare yourself for quality sleep by following a relaxing bedtime routine (such as bathing or meditating before going to bed).
See a sleep expert if you are unable to achieve good sleep despite your best efforts.
What Supplements Increase Deep Sleep?
In addition to making wise lifestyle changes that help promote better sleep, some of us may also respond well to natural sleep aids. Hernightly, a natural sleep-supporting product made by Mixhers, can help ease us into deep sleep without the side effects associated with prescription sleeping pills.
Hernightly contains a trio of gentle ingredients (melatonin, ashwagandha, and chamomile) that are known for their ability to promote healthy sleep patterns. As an added bonus, the delicious formula also contains bovine collagen, which the body can utilize to repair its muscles, skin, and hair during deep sleep. Take one serving before bed to experience the deep, restorative sleep your body needs and deserves.
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